Logistics and Technology

Some Thoughts about Future Military Implications

by Robert M. Paulson, Thomas T. Tierney

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Discussion of the impact of new technology on logistics in terms of future (beyond current five-year forecasts) military operations, requirements, and applications. Technology may generate tradeoffs and phase out existing facilities, weapon systems, and even people. Existing organizational arrangements may also be affected, particularly those directly identified with logistics. In this regard, changes in the organization for logistics will probably follow the format of the 1970s — turbulence followed by cautious decentralization. This paper focuses on two approaches for assessing the impact of new technology: (1) deductive impact, the voluntary accommodation of technology to facilitate the logistics process (examples include higher-speed communications, improved packaging techniques, comprehensive information systems, and improved materiel-handling equipment), and (2) inductive impact, the forced response of the logistics system to support new technology such as telemechanisms, and space devices.

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